I don’t even know where to start about this book.
This book got passed around my friend group like wildfire. I’d heard about it for a couple of years, but never got around to buying it (and let’s be honest, I love my public library but they’re not quick to buy Christian books written in the past 5 years unless they make some “religious bestseller list”). Then suddenly, 3 of my Monday night friends had read it and lent their copies to another three, who were raving about it mid-book.
So I got in line and when someone finished it, I snapped up a copy.
And y’all, it’s just as good as they said.
Don’t you love that feeling? When books are just as good as you heard they were?
It’s like salve to a thirsty soul, it is.
Bread and Wine is a series of essays by Shauna Niequist. The premise sounds amazing as it is: a book about God, community, and food. Three of my favorite things, in order.
I keep trying to summarize it and doing it poorly, so I’ll pull a quote to let her speak for herself:
What’s becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel God’s presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table. The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving what I’ve made with my own hands, comes together as more than the sum of their parts. I love the sounds and smells and textures of life at the table, hands passing bowls and forks clinking against plates and bread being torn and rhythm and energy of feeding and being fed.
This was the kind of book that I didn’t want to read too much at a time because each chapter spoke to my soul so deeply that I didn’t want to rush my absorption of it. The first six chapters in particular spoke to deep core needs within me, or resonated with a place I’ve been in the past couple years. Even the chapters on areas of life I haven’t yet experienced – motherhood, some types of loss, or some other piece of real life – I deeply appreciated her honesty, her rawness, her clearness on compounding truths of the messiness of life and reality of Jesus in those moments and situations.
So I’ll leave you with the way she closes her introduction, as a taste of the goodness that exists in this book:
When you eat, I want you to think of God, of the holiness of the hands that feed us, of the provision we are given every time we eat. When you eat bread and drink wine, I want you to think about the body and the blood every time, not just when the bread and wine show up in church, but when they show up anywhere – on a picnic table or a hardwood floor or a beach.
Yes. That is what I want for my life too – that the bread and wine would make me think of Jesus in whatever context. Because that’s real life? A walk of faith that’s daily, in the inconsequential and the profound, in the celebrations and the mourning and the mediocre. It all matters in our lives with Jesus, with community, around the table.
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